Carol Kirkwood reveals where you 'might see Northern Lights tonight'
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On Wednesday, the natural phenomenon was was visible to the naked eye as far south as Devon. According to a space weather expert at the Met Office, there will be further sightings of the Northern Lights overnight tonight.
Krista Hammond said: “As was predicted by the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre, a coronal mass ejection impacted with the Earth yesterday.
“The resulting strong geomagnetic storm meant the Northern Lights were visible across large areas of the UK overnight last night.
“We’ve had reports that the aurora could even be seen in some central areas of the UK, which is possible when a storm of this magnitude impacts the Earth.”
She said the storm left the sun on Tuesday and hit Earth last night, as predicted.
Ms Hammond continued: “Further geomagnetic storms are possible tonight and into the early hours tomorrow morning, due to the ongoing effects of the coronal mass ejection.
“This means there is the potential for further sightings of the Northern Lights overnight, although there will be spells of patchy cloud over Scotland which could limit visibility in places.”
The Met Office tweeted: “There’s another chance to see the #NorthernLights tonight.
“Clear skies across parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland this evening will offer some good viewing chances.”
On Wednesday night, aurora-watcher Julie Winn, from Hexham, Northumberland, drove an hour into the Scottish Borders to find a dark patch of sky away from light pollution.
Describing what she saw, she said: “It was better than I have seen for a long time, clearly visible to the naked eye, with subtle colours of pink and green above.”
Another stargazer, Paul Spackman said it was the first time they had been able to see the phenomenon.
The graphic designer, from near Ennerdale in Cumbria, said he had been using apps for five years in an effort to catch a glimpse.
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He said: “I use a couple of apps on my phone which let me know the likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights.
“I’ve been getting a lot of amber alerts over the last week or so but not had any luck seeing anything.
“Last night, when I got a red alert on both apps, I popped on my dressing gown and went into the garden and spent some time scanning the sky.
“I was amazed at what I saw. I’ve never seen them before but I’ve always wanted to ever since I was young and was hoping one day to visit Norway to see them.
“Hard to put into words really, but it gave me goosebumps all over.”
The phenomenon happens when energised particles from the sun slam into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45million mph.
As the Earth’s magnetic field redirects the particles toward the North Pole, the dramatic process transforms into the light display.
Billy Teets, an astronomer and the director of Dyer Observatory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, said: “These particles are deflected towards the poles of Earth by our planet’s magnetic field and interact with our atmosphere, depositing energy and causing the atmosphere to fluoresce.
“Every type of atom or molecule, whether it’s atomic hydrogen or a molecule like carbon dioxide, absorbs and radiates its own unique set of colors, which is analogous to how every human being has a unique set of fingerprints.
“Some of the dominant colors seen in aurorae are red, a hue produced by the nitrogen molecules, and green, which is produced by oxygen molecules.”
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